This past summer has been one of the hottest on record in Connecticut with 39 days recorded at Bradley Field greater than 90 degrees, and has left New London County with drought conditions. August and September have been particularly dry, leading to the Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup to reclassify New London County as having conditions consistent with Stage 2 drought conditions. Note there are 5 stages of State determined drought – below normal, incipient, moderate, severe, and extreme.
Groton Utilities (GU) has been an approved climatological station with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for nearly 100 years, and closely monitors and records weather data. Source water operations at GU are always weather dependent. Currently, our area is ~6 inches shy of a recorded 90 year cumulative average.
Fortunately, Groton Utilities water customers are in good shape, as water supplies are at 78% capacity, with well over 2 billion gallons of available water. Currently, that works out to nearly a year’s worth of water available to the GU water service area, and our regional customers.
Water Utilities use different drought stages than noted above. These stages require specific duties and responsibilities. Where the State Drought Plan stages are based upon precipitation, water utilities regulatory-determined drought plan is based upon water in storage, or impoundage. Action for utility staged response plan begins at 50% impoundage with an alert status. A water emergency begins at 30-35% impoundage. Groton Utilities always encourages its customers to engage in varied conversation activities, such as purchasing energy saving appliances, electric vehicles as well as installing LED light bulbs whenever possible. There are a number of methods for conserving water which, while not presently mandated, are encouraged. Please visit our website for conservation tips.
GU’s 15 square mile watershed is very resilient, and even with minimum rainfall can substantially improve impoundage in the five reservoirs. GU also takes advantage of groundwater reserves through closed and open well systems. GU has a specific operating plan for its reservoir system during drought conditions. This plan attempts to minimize evapotranspiration, ensure water quality, maintain proper water levels and preserve groundwater reserves. Please be assured that GU plans and prepares for drought and any emergency conditions, has an abundance of water in supply, and technically qualified staff to ensure our continued service to our valued customers.
If you have any questions or concerns about our current water supply levels and how this affects you please visit our website or reach out to Customer Service at 860-446-4000.
Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup Press Release